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Topic: Barbecuing at Altitude . . . . From: Pete,
Subject: Re: Briskets on High
Thanks for the quick reply to my brisket question. I hate to wear out my welcome, but I'm really interested in barbecuing at altitude. I'm at 5050 feet. Beans, spaghetti, rice -- all take longer because water boils at lower temps up here.
But how do you think this affect barbecuing? I barbecue in a good quality smoker at 200 to 300 F and everything seems to take quite a bit longer than it should, or at least what the BBQ books say should be the correct cooking time. What do you think is going on internally, if anything, that's different?
Much better to barbecue with an altitude problem than an attitude problem.
As you have discovered, water boils at a progressively lower temperature as one ascends. In keeping with the principle that meat cooked at temperatures below or around the boiling point of water is barbecuing and is responsible for the tender, succulent taste, reduce your temperatures accordingly and increase your time for creative enjoyment. Also, reduce the amount of smoke which you might introduce at lower altitudes.
Add small foods, like sausages or wings, to graze upon while the big stuff takes longer to cook. Remember that the cooking part is at least as important as the eating.
Your comment that, "..it takes a bit longer than it should." violates a basic Smoky Principle, "Barbecuing never takes longer than it should." Barbecuing is an opportunity to enjoy cooking.